Dr. Brandi Stewart '14
Following her graduation in 2014, Dr. Brandi Stewart completed a Residency in the area of Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation and has been hired as an associate OD at the Optometry Center for Vision Therapy. This is a highly specialized practice on developmental and neuro-optometry.
While enrolled at UIWRSO, Dr. Stewart credits the time spent participating as a leader in several organizations, including Student Government, AAO, COVD, and Student Ambassador, as a tremendous help in personal and professional development. Through these experiences, she recognizes the leadership and communication skills to transition from optometry student to doctor and leader in a large multi-location practice. Dr. Stewart also describes the privilege of working in the Summer Fellowship Training Program (SFTP) with Dr. Jeff Rabin during the summer between her first and second year as a great opportunity to explore the research side of the profession. She has attributed this experience as important in developing skills to designing, conducting, writing, and presenting original research. Following her SFTP experience, Dr. Stewart has presented numerous papers and posters at national conventions and continue with her passion to discover and disseminate new knowledge in the field.
Dr. Stewart continues to seek ways to grow professionally and is currently a member of the American Academy of Optometry, College of Optometrists in Vision Development, Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, InfantSee, American Optometric Association, and Texas Optometric Association. Additionally, she is simultaneously pursuing Fellowship with the American Academy of Optometry and College of Optometrists in Vision Development.
Her advice to students starting out in OD program is, “Take the first semester a day at a time, come up with a study plan, and do not procrastinate. There is too much information to cram before the test. Some classmates liked to look over their notes from the day's lecture each evening. I liked to study a specific class on a specific day (for example, study last week's vision science and optics lectures on Mondays, anatomy on Tuesdays, etc). This will help you learn time management for handling the course load, which gets both harder and easier because by second year you will know how to deal with learning that much information so quickly. You may be interested in multiple organizations, but tread lightly your first year with time commitments until you are comfortable with studying. Then you can start devoting time to the organizations you are most interested in and maybe even seek a leadership position. The most important thing is that you will get overwhelmed, but think of all the optometrists who have felt just as overwhelmed and made it through with strategies like this!”
As Dr. Stewart looks to the future, she has plans to stay in the multi-doctor private practice full-time while pursuing the aforementioned Fellowships. She appreciates the opportunity to specialize in this field and thankful to have found a wonderful practice that shares her passion. Her long-term goals include teaching or performing research at an optometry school.